Catawba County Employee Spotlight
Tell us about fishing. What do you enjoy about it?
For me, fishing is the chance to get away from cell phones and televisions and enjoy nature. Especially during the winter months, I’ll tie my own flies on weeknights to match what I figure the trout are feeding upon, and use them on the weekend trips. In order to do this, I must have an understanding of what insects are actually available, and their size and color.
As far as the type of water I prefer, I really enjoy moving water rather than flat water, simply because the scenery is so much better. I can have a day where I catch very few fish, and still have a wonderful time from nothing more than the surroundings. Unlike lake fishing, rivers and creeks that cut through the mountains simply draw me to them, along with the creatures that inhabit the area. Depending on where I am any particular weekend, the wildlife I might see include deer, turkey, beaver, bear, cougar, otters, eagles, osprey, coyote, and elk. Every time I see them, I watch in awe.
How and when did you get started?
As a child, my father would often take my brothers and I to the river below the house during the summer to fish for whatever we could catch. As I got older and able to go on my own, I found that I really enjoyed trout fishing as it allowed me to visit the more pristine and beautiful water in the area. For years, this meant using the familiar spinning rod setup. Not long after, I picked up a fly rod and it struck a chord with me. Ever since then, I have primarily fly fished, long before the movies made fly fishing popular (Looking at You, A River Runs Through It).
Where are your favorite places to fish?
I enjoy fishing any of the clear waters of the mountains. From October through February, I travel most every weekend to the South Holston and Watauga Rivers of East Tennessee. Both of these tail water rivers begin filling with huge brown trout looking to spawn in late October. During these weekends, there are days where the temps never reach above freezing, and yet I’ll stand in the river from pre-dawn to dark and be happy all day long.
From late spring through early fall, I float some of the most beautiful rivers in the state for smallmouth bass. From the New River, French Broad, Nolichucky, and Catawba, I take day trips most weekends.
Any fun or interesting stories you’d like to share about your fishing?
During an especially cold trip to Tennessee on a January morning, the temperatures for the day did not get above 10 degrees Fahrenheit. A cold mist from the warm water was constantly rising, so everything along the river had a coat of ice as the mist settled. At one point during the day, I decided to take a break and eat a bit of a snack on the river bank. As I sat down, I tried to place my fly rod beside of me, but it would not come loose as it had frozen to my glove.
At that point, the water is the warmest thing around, so I had to dip my hand into the river to get the rod release. At that point, there’s no point staying around as a wet hand isn’t going to last long in those temperatures, so I simply headed home with the heat on high. LOL